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The Ghost Bus Tour

Dublin Ghost Bus Tour

What can a person do on a Monday night in Dublin for under €30.00 and truly enjoy themselves? In fact what can a person do on any given night for the same price and again have a good time? Well I booked a ticket for the Dublin Ghost tour, I got my ticket that very same day and my ticket cost me €28.00. I purchased my ticket at Dublin Bus offices on O’Connell Street and my bus was there to pick me up outside their office at 8pm. You can book online and save yourself €6.00 simply go to and click into ghost tour and book, here’s my review of the ghostly shenanigans that happened next.

It was a cold auld night I arrived just past 7.30pm, at about 7.45pm a double Decker bus pulled in, it looked like a normal bus till I got on! Down stairs was totally decked out with cob webs, and ghostly figures along with skeletons! Our driver for that night was Francis and our very witty and very funny guide was a man staged named Vincent Price. If that name didn’t tell you anything then perhaps the tour wasn’t for you! Once upstairs, the windows were blacked out with moving velvet blinds, the roof of the bus was painted with arty cob webs, it had its own P.A system on board along with an Ipod, and an IPod docker.

We were politely asked to use the front seats. I noticed that every two set of seats at the window were taken out and one single seat was put in for our guide to sit on so he could face us on the bus. That particular night I was joined by about 8 to 10 other people, some from as far as the States, and some from Scotland the rest were Dubs I think. Just after 8 pm we pulled out to begin our ghost bus tour within Dublin.

The tour was based in and around Dublin City. While making our way through the city streets that were so narrow to one of our sightseeing places, we played a game onboard, a lady had the lucky seat number, and she was selected to play. The game was simple, the iPod played 5 pieces of music one after the other and the lady had to tell Vincent, what movies they belonged to, the lady got the 5 right and was awarded some kind of poster or a cert. Before we knew it, we were outside number 6 Kildare Street, what has this address got to do with the tour one might ask? Well one of Irelands many a great writers was born and lived here till he got married his name was Bram Stoker, the writer of the classic Dracula.

Dracula has been the subject of 1,000s of movies from silent to black and white and right up to our modern times, despite Dracula living in a castle in Romania, Bram only left Ireland to go as far as England, so where did he get his inspiration from? Bram was short for Abraham as that was his real name, his mother was very much into old Irish folk storytelling. When Bram was growing up his mother Charlotte used to tell him old Irish tales. One story in particular was about the Cholera epidemic of 1832, which claimed thousands upon thousands of deaths, it is believed this story fuelled young Bram’s imagination. When Bram was a small child he was very sick and spent much of this time in bed and this is where his mother at times told him stories.

Bram went on to be a student at Trinity College, and he graduated in 1870 with a masters in mathematics. He also excelled in athletics and literature. He worked in the Irish civil service for 10 years and in 1878 he married a lady called Florence Balcombe and they moved over to London in England. Bram passed away on the 20th of April 1912, he was 65. In 2012 Bram will be dead 100 years so do watch out for various celebrations of this great Irish man. As we looked on from the bus one couldn’t help but feel great pride in being Irish.

Our next and first off stop off the bus was St Kevin’s graveyard in Camden street. The graveyard no longer takes “new arrivals”, it is rather now a public park, where many can enjoy a lunch or maybe just sun bathe when we actually have sun in our summers. Sadly the old church and head stones tell a different story to the happy relaxed faces that frequent the park now. The church was first mentioned in historical annals as far back as 1226. It is the burial place of the very famous bishop Dermot O’ Hurley, who used to do secret christenings for the people when the English throne was in power on our land and no one was allowed to practice their religion. Just like St Patrick, Dermot used to baptise folk who wanted it, someone told the English soldiers what Dermot was doing while he was away in Rome and on his return he was captured and brought to Dublin Castle. He was badly tortured then they hung him, but they did it in a horrific way, they used vines and skinny branches with thorns and placed it around his neck every time he moved more pain was inflicted on to him. He could have saved himself by declaring he was no longer a Catholic man and would no longer practice it, he refused.

They buried him in the graveyard but over time pilgrims that flocked to his grave, several thousands of them, took bits the earth that buried his coffin, then bits of his headstone, then the coffin until finally the authorities re-dug him, burned his bones and placed them in the walls of the church where he is still today. Dermot has been seen haunting the spot where he used to baptise the people. Another haunting is that of a father and son. On St Patrick’s Day in 1782, a family lost a boy called Edward who was only 7 years of age. Exactly one year later to the date in 1783, his father Pat passed on and both the father and son are seen from time to time walking through the graveyard.

Body snatching was also a phenomena in St Kevin’s graveyard. Body snatching was a big business way back in those darkened times. Body snatchers used to dig up freshly buried bodies and sell them to doctors who used the bodies as a way to teach students in the Royal College of Surgeons. The doctors who bought these bodies never questioned where they came from, they were only too happy to pay and take them. This was in part due to the fact that anytime a body had been opened up by students a fee was charged. It was only when the body snatcher was caught that all hell would break loose, they would be hanged and guess were their body would go? 😉

We next went to the famous haunted “Forty Steps”, which are located here in the Dublin 8 area. It’s sometimes named the “Gateway to Hell”. It is located at the left of the gate to St Audoen’s church on Fishamble Street. At one point this area was the centre of a red light district full of brothels. A woman of alleged disrepute who was called Darky Kelly, found herself pregnant by none other than the Sherriff of Dublin at the time! When he heard he became very distressed fearing his name would be dragged through the mud so he came up with a painful plan for Darky. He claimed that she was a witch and poor ole Darky was burned alive as with all so called witches in those days. These days her tortured spirit can be seen wondering the Forty Steps. These steps were once on the wall that divided Dublin. The wall was taken down years ago but you can still see some of the bricks that held it together, it’s not unusual if you are taking a few photos that your film will pick up on orbs and if you are really lucky ghostly figures!

Ghost bus went on to many different places and I can see myself spending the rest of the afternoon regaling you with the different tales I was told.

This was a very interesting tour to do, also if you have a camera bring it and just snap away, you may just be surprised with who is in the photo with you! Our tour guide kept the different stories alive and there was great craic to be had on the bus.

My only negatives was there was hardly any leg room on the bus, now bear in mind I am over 6 feet tall, apart from that I would like to do it again. Next year Bram Stoker is dead 100 years maybe do it on his anniversary on the 20th April 2012. I hope to see you there! They offer group discounts, go online to or call in to their head office Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 5.00pm, and except bank holidays, phone them on Dublin on 01-8734-222.

8 stars out of 10, room to improve the seating and leg room for tall people, but I really enjoyed it, and our guide was very good, and our driver was very obliging.

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – December 2011 (Issue 7)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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